• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
As the first Panaad sa Negros festival under the administration of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson opened after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumption and purchase of locally manufactured goods, which are abundant at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City, is encouraged.
We have seen our country through periods of crisis before, and reversals are opportunities for us to rethink and re-evaluate our efforts to usher our country and our people toward recovery. The demands of our time are great and different. If new sets of behaviors, perspectives, and approaches are needed, we must not hesitate, Lacson said, during the opening ceremonies of Panaad sa Negros Festival, also attended by Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Francis Tolentino.
He recalled that 30 years ago, an idea was hatched to showcase the festivals, the history, cultural heritage, commerce, industry, and tourism potential of all the cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental.
This year’s Panaad sa Negros presents a deeper meaning in light of what we went through the past three years, which caused us to abandon this yearly celebration, Lacson said.
Lacson also said that the focus of the provincial government now is promoting locally produced products in order to support farmers.
That is the promise, why Panaad was established, he stressed.
Panaad, aside from being festive, is also a venue where local producers can showcase their products, Lacson said, as he encourages everyone to shift their buying patterns towards the consumption and purchase of locally manufactured goods.
Let us make this celebration the hallmark of our renewed faith and enthusiasm to work together. This time, we are going to reach for our hopes and aspirations, armed with the same Negrense grit we courageously displayed in the past, the governor added.
Lacson also rallied everyone to invite their friends, families, and peers to come and join the week-long festival, “so we can share with them the famed Negrense spirit, grace, and hospitality through our cuisine and products.”
As what I have previously said, a culture such as ours needs to be discovered by the world, and rediscovered by our own, he added.
Thirty years after its inception, Panaad continues to be the embodiment of unity among Negrenses and 32 Local Government Units, Lacson further said.
Without our LGUs’ active participation, Panaad will not be the renowned festival that it is, he stressed.
Lacson also acknowledged the substantial contributions of MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to the local economy and nation-building.
Frasco, on the other hand, said she is very grateful for being invited to the Panaad sa Negros, to witness the story of Negrenses through the Panaad sa Negros.
She expects that it will highlight the heritage, culture, talents, life and times of the province of Negros Occidental.
Noting that it will be celebrated for the first time since 2019, Frasco said she is excited for the full display of Filipino talent and artistry, by way of the Panaad Festival.*